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  MSNBC    The Last Word    News/Business. Current  
   issues and news stories.  

    November 30, 2012
    7:00 - 8:00pm PST  

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they have set a new mark for congressional uselessness. the good news is, nowhere to go but up, right? maybe not. today the republican house majority leader eric cantor released the new house calendar for next year for the house congress. if you are hoping for more production next year compared to this year. look, 365 days on the calendar. republicans have decided to give themselves 239 days off including the week ends. only in session for 126 dis. roughly a third of the year. that's it. other two thirds of the year is reserved for time not spent at work. there are three months next year when the house will be in session for a grand total of eight days. so if you liked the do-less than the do-nothing congress we've had this past year, you are going to love the next congress. next year. don't blink because you might miss them. now time for the last word. have a great weekend. the fiscal cliff talks just turned into the godfather.
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part 2. >> america only thrives when we have a strong and growing middle class. >> the president hits the road today. >> back on the road today. >> to sell his proposal to avoid the fiscal cliff. >> we've got important decisions to make. >> obama played a kind of hard ball. >> let's play hall. >> all of us have to get out of our comfort zones to make that happen. >> we are ready to work for the president. >> buffed the president's proposal. >> the wrong approach. >> tim geithner brought them a deal. >> it didn't go bellwell. >> they thought was lewdrous. >> gave republicans nothing. >> my offer is this. >> my offer is this. >> nothing. >> nothing. >> republicans were very much offended. >> mitch mcconnell lasted at the offer. >> burst into laughter. >> laughing at the president's package -- >> that catch them by surprise at all? >> they have to come up with their pennsylvania package. >> we are ready to work with him. >> i promise ton laugh at it. >> we can solve these problems. >> we are almost everywhere. >> republicans not seeking our
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will on the president. >> democrats have the leverage and they know it. >> listen, this is a negotiation. >> what is negotiable? >> nothing. >> nothing. >> obama wants to go over the cliff. >> they are toward fight this all the way. >> only ten legislative days to go. >> what happens when we go over the cliff? a democrat orgasm happens. >> that's a scrooge christmas. >> america about to go cliff diving. >> it is not a question, it is strictly business. there's a pro tip of, when one side is leaking the other side's proposals and negotiations, they are not going well, at all. and the fiscal cliff negotiations are not going well at all. on thursday republicans leaked the white house's opening bid and we have some exclusive tape of that. >> all right. somebody will have to play a little game. we'll play yours. so let's just say that you paid
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me because it is in your interest to pay me. but i want your answer and the money by noon tomorrow. >> senator, you can have my answer now, if you like. my offer is this -- nothing. >> okay. maybe that's not actually exclusive tape of the budget negotiations, but it is kind of the spirit of the thing. president obama's opening bid to the republicans goes like this. first democrats get a trillion dollars in tax revenue by letting the high-income bush tax expire. that hatch matches the spending cuts in the 2011 debt ceiling deal. a trillion for a trillion. then dem krts and republicans get 6 billion worth of stuff they want. democrats get 6 billion from tax reform and republicans get 600 billion in spending cuts of which 350 mill billon comes from medicare and other health problems and 250 billion comes from elsewhere. then we draw down wars in iraq
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and afghanistan, shaving another trillion off of the deficit. that gets us to around 4 trillion in deficit over the next ten years. we are almost at 5 trillion in deficit reduction. as they sign the game shows, that's not all. the white house is also asking for about 200 billion in stimulus. according to the weekly standard, when senate minority leader mitch mcconnell saw the proposal, he quote, burst into laughter. he literally lol 'd. >> i've been very guarded in what i wanted to say. i didn't want it make it harder for me it say or the president or members of both parties to find common ground. but when i come out the day after the election and make it
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clear that republicans will put revenue on the table, i took a great risk. and then the white house spends three weeks trying to develop a proposal and they send one up here, the calls for $1.6 trillion of new taxes, calls for not even $400 billion in cuts, and they want to have extra spending, that's actually greater than the amount they are willing to cut. i mean, it's -- it was not a serious proposal. and so, right now, we're almost nowhere. >> his frustration is understandable. obama did not give an inch in this proposal. pretty much the same as his budget. the wlous would note it is pretty much the same as the budget he just won an election on, actually. so it shouldn't be a shock that obama's opening bid is his platform. he just won an election on that platform. those are his policies, it is what he promised.
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negotiations are beginning but you kproez with the other guy, not with yourself. doesn't mean you're not willing to compromise. obama said as much today. >> in washington, nothing's easy, so you know, there's going to be prolonged negotiations. and all of us will have to get out of our comfort zones to make that happen. i'm willing to do that. i'm hopeful that enough members of congress in both parties are willing to do that as well. we can solve these problems. >> boehner's surprise is in part because this is a different obama he is now negotiating with. and it is not just that obama won an election. he has often compromised on his own. he has offered plans that tracked where he thought the final compromise would end up. the white house figured that by being list is us to they would win goodwill own the other side and even if they didn't, the media would come to their side realizing they sought compromise
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in the same place and been rebuffed by republicans. the white house does not believe that any more. probably the key lesson they took from the last couple of years is this. do not negotiate with yourself. if republicans want it cut medicare, let them propose the cuts. if they want it raise revenue through tax reform as opposed to marginal rates, let them tell you with what they want it eliminate. if they want deeper cuts to discretionary spending, let them give you a number. above all, if they don't like your policies, let them propose their own. that way if the white house does give in to hire demands, the republicans would feel like they got one over on the prose. they won one. i think is a genuinely important principle in washington. a compromise is not measured by what you offer. it is measured by what the other side feels they made you concede. the gop is right. this is an serious proposal and that obama seriously expects them to accept it. expects him to give him a proposal. it is a serious pressage though.
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obama is no longer dealing with himself. now that gop leaked his offer, the next question is clear. what is their counter offer? and that gets to the real game behind the game here. the difference between what obama wants out of the fiscal negotiations and what republicans want out of the negotiations is as john noted at new york magazine that obama's demand it raise taxes on the rich is popular. he again just won an election. the gop's demand it cut medicare spending is unpopular. people don't like it. so what the gop wants is for obama to propose the medicare cuts for them. they want him to take the heat. democrats find this ridiculous, i think is the right word. given that the obama administration would happily raise taxes without cutting medicare but republicans will only raise taxes if we cut medicare. obama won't negotiate on his own and republicans are now scared to negotiate with him.
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joining me now is jared bernstein from budget and policy priority. great blogger. former chief economist for vice president joe biden. good to see you. thank you for being here on a friday. >> can't think after better way to start my weekend than talking fiscal cliff to you. >> means a lot to me. >> i know. >> the daily beast said obama just got re-elected. it is a classic time for magnonimity. which i think i just mispronounced. do you think obama has a hard line at the wrong time? >>. if sullivan means that obama should negotiate with himself, which you point out, hasn't worked for him before, and b, isn't the way it move forward once you won an election with the what you are arguing over, i disagree. the right way to negotiate is not to come out and say, here is what we want republicans.
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here is what we want. here is your opening bid as you correctly name this, let's hear yours. >> one thing ways surprised to see in the white house opening bid, the fiscal cliff, which we like to call the austerity crisis because it is just too much austerity, it centers around the reduction and there is too much deficit reduction. the white house add lot of stimulus which folks like your group and you in particular have been calling for for some time. were you surprised to see it in there. >> i was surprised to see as much as i did, and i was happy to see it in there. you are right. if you think about -- remember the economy. >> i've heard of the economy, yes. >> the unemployment rate is still way too elevated. 7.9%. gdp got a pop but most of us agree it is growing well too slowly. this is our biggest near term problem. our biggest near term problem is not the budget deficit. that is a long-term problem, a
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serious problems, we have a chance to do something about it. . if we can at the same time, help the 2013 economy by giving it a bit of a boost, that means a lot to workers, their paychecks, job availability. i'm very happy to see that was in there. >> when you look at the white house's proposal, what do you think they think they can actually get? >> i think they think they can get the increase in the top rates. that's the biggest kind of thing to finally break the mold on that, to really push back against the kind of grover norquist ian asymmetry. i think they can get that. i'm not sure we end up at 396 for the top rate, but i think they will get that. i think probably by giving some on the entitlements as is in their opening bid, they will be able to get back to perhaps some of the stimulus ideas as well. certainly on the taxes. and maybe something on the near term to help the economy. >> i've been talking to a number of republican offices. one thing i've come to think has
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become a problem in the negotiation says republicans, aside from premium support in medicare, which they know they can't get, they actually don't flow what medicare cuts they want. they don't know what a middle ground is for them on entitlements. how do you see that part of the negotiation going. republicans don't have a set of, here are our asks, and here is what can you give us. that's part of why they want obama to tell them what they want. >> the president is starting out in the right place. so far, all 40,000 feet up for them. we want it clean out the tax code. close deducks. cut entitlements. they have to get specific. frankly, i don't think they know what their specifics are. as you said in your intraducks, the publy didn't want it hear it. they don't want to necessarily -- people running for office in 2014 don't want to say, here is how i think you should cut it. the president has hundreds of billions of dollars of savings in medicare he is bringing to the table. >> you don't want to it up if
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you think people will hate you for it. >> exactly. coming up, what it has to do with tax reform and what it means when people say the words, tax reform. what if i told you mitch mcconnell and president obama had a plan it save the world. even begin by saving america $18 billion without raising taxes or cutting anything. would you believe me? believe me. it is coming up. 12. part of a whole new line of tablets from dell. it's changing the conversation. ♪ (announcer) when subaru owners. look in the mirror, they see more than themselves. so we celebrate our year-end with the "share the love" event. get a great deal on a new subaru and 250 dollars goes to your choice of five charities. by the end of this, our fifth year,
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people in washington keep saying tax reform, like it's a magic spell. it does not mean what you think it means. that is coming up. and later, the epic fail that was the romney campaign's polling. we knew it was wrong, we had no idea how wrong it actually was. that is ahead. twins. i didn't see them coming.
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let's solve this. there's an app that does menu translation. you hold up your phone and it instantly translates a foreign language menu into words can you actually understand. how about that? this is important if your taste buds outpaced the spanish or french or italian you remember from high school. say you are in italy and you see formaggio marcio on the menu. and no, i have no idea if i pronounced it right, that's why i need an app. so you think this is a cheese and it is a cheese, a cheese with live maggots in it. a civilian delicacy, but one you did not mean to order. if only you knew what it meant. there is a menu app for policy. there is one at the washington post, sorry, i have to do my
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plug. you may have heard a term floating around washington, tax reform. when politicians get specific, quote, base rodding and he rate reform. it is bieber and honey boo boo and gangham style all rolled into one. >> when ronald reagan ran for office he laid out the principles he was going to foster. he said would he lower tax rates. he said would he broaden the base. those are my principles. bring down rates. broaden the base. simplify the code. and create incentives for growth. >> we're willing to accept some additional revenues via tax reform. simpler, cleaner, fairer tax code with fewer loop holes and rates for all. >> in simpson-bowles, democrats love it too. base rod and tax lowering platform. sounds so good, doesn't it? sounds better than charity destroying home shrinking state burdening tax reform.
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but that is what it actually is. the actual definition of base broadening tax reform that is emerging in the ongoing fiscal cliff negotiation says tax reform that limits itemized deductions among high taxpayers. that is a very boring sentence. do not be bored. this is important. here is what it actually means. as former budget director poi pointed out in a bloomberg column, 90% of those itemized destructions for the rich is three categories. deductions paid for taxes paid, mostly state and local. home mortgage interest and charitable interest. look at each in turn. first, home mortgage deduction. most economists will tell you cutting the home mortgage deduction particularly for rich people is a good idea. no real reason the tax code should subsidize the purchase of more mcmansions. i'm not mar particularly worried about that. second, state and local taxes paid. that's just a tax shift.
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instead of raising taxes on you by simply raising them on you, we raise them on you by making our state and local tax bill higher. it'll pound on high tax cities on states which means it'll hit the cities and states by making them less attractive places for people to live. there a political veilance here too. all ten of the highest tax states wept for president obama in 2012 and eight of the lowest tax states were for romney. that would be a particularly tough tax for blue states. them. charitable contributions. this is the most sensitive to tax incentives. you have to live somewhere, you need a home and it is hard it move it a new state because taxes went up. you don't need to give to charity. people give to charity because they want to and also, let's be real, because the government encourages through the tax code. it is reported in bloomberg in
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2009 households with incomes of more than $200,000 claimed almost $60 billion in charitable deductions or 20% of total charitable giving in the u.s. that year. he goes on to site one study that found charitable donations are cut almost dollar for dollar to the increase in the donor's tax bill. so that could be a $60 billion cut to charity coffers. other studies said it could be half that though still likely in many billions of dollars of cuts to charities. that is the reality behind base broadening rate lowering tax reform. not magic. more aftermathic trick that leads to a distraction to distract the audience from where the increases really are. but it is tax increase. on charitable giving, buying and state and local taxes. it is a an increase on marginal rates. that's a fair argument to have but is the argument we need to be having? joining me now to have some of that argument is chris hansen president of the american cancer
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society. the cancer action network. thank you, chris. you do great work. i'm a big fan of your effort. >> thanks you. it is good to be here. >> as i said, we all support what you do here. but why should we subsidize you. why should my taxes subsidize you. and not just you, but museums and rich guys' alma maters. >> first of all, we add charitable deduction in this country since 1917, i believe is when it went into effect. it is part of our society. it leveragees a whole variety of things. if all of the services that are done by not nor prove ilts, and there are all kinds of not for profits out there, and what happen says they do a lot of things that governments would have to do otherwise. when people talk about making governments smaller, it is a lot harder if you don't have charitable organizations that do disaster relief and any other number of things. health services, et cetera.
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let me give you an example of the american cancer society. we are the largest funder of cancer research in the world. in 2011, to give you an example, we spent $123 million funding cancer researchers. we have spent $3.8 billion over the lifetime of the organization. you might say, why don't we just do that through government instead of doing it through you? because we do find cancer research at the federal level through the federal government. reality is, what we do compliments what you do at the federal level. so we bring people into cancer research. we fund the early researchers. and we get them started. we get them going. 46 of the researchers we have funded went ton win nobel prizes. >> let me ask you about that, though. have you guys run the numbers on what a proposal like this would mean for your work? do you have an estimate? >> i don't think we know how to estimate. you know, to be really honest with you. because we haven't been through it before. we don't have a history on this.
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the history is the giving that we have. we know that a lot of people do give because of the deduction that's available. we what we don't know is how behavior will change if it goes away. we know it'll hurt us, we don't know exactly how badly it'll hurt us. i make one other point. we have for most charitable organizations, for the whole -- for all charitable organizations, for 70% of contributions come from individuals. in our case, it is much higher than that. closer to 90%. but these are individuals that are contributing to what they want to contribute to. another point i would make is that a lot of times the money that is being spent in these organizations is leveraging volunteer act. and so that's part of our society, really. that's the way that this country is different from a lot of other countries and we leverage, you know, all of the human capital that we have in this country and not for profits are particularly good at doing that. we have 3 million volunteers with the american cancer
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society. a lot of the money we raise charitiably, helps them drive cancer patients to treatment and things like that. >> chris hansen, thank you for the work you do and for being here tonight. >> good to be with you. thank you. >> coming up, we now have the polls, actual polls, that led mitt romney's team so very astray. later, the way congress and president obama can stop a big chunk of capitol hill drama, and maybe even save the world. really. that is coming up. copd makes it hard to breathe,
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coming up, you knew the romney campaign's numbers were off. now we know how far team, i love data, really was. want to try to crack it? yeah, that's the way to do it!
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[ cheering ] any flight, anytime. the scoreboard doesn't lie. what's in your wallet? hut! i have me on my fantasy team. in a spotlight tonight, if you were in the mitt romney campaign, election day was a very, very surprising day. something you never expected to happen, happened. he lost the election. a couple days after romney lost one of his senior advisors told cbs news, we went into the evening confident. we add good path to victory. i don't think there is one person who saw this coming. there were people who saw it coming. they just weren't in the romney campaign, apparently. and they weren't on the media outlets so the romney campaign appeared to pay attention to. >> you see, romney will take florida and virginia and north carolina. basically what i've seen. >> i agree.
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>> i think romney gets 279 to 281 or 286 in the electoral. >> i'm sticking with you. i think it is a two point race too. tl three point race. >> we will win by bia san leandro slide. >> not even close. 300 electoral votes for romney. >> pretty much everybody was predicting an obama victory. that's because all of the polls were predicting an obama victory and all of the betting markets were betting an obama victory. nate had a model with obama with a 91% chance of victory. on the eve, entre gave obama a 2-1 chance of winning. that's a lot of wizards. how could mitt romney have got in it so very, very wrong and his campaign people got it so very wrong? this is a guy who made a fortune as super analytical private equity manager who once told the wall
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street journal editorial board, quote, i love data. i used to call it wallowing in the data. let me see the data. i want it see the client's data. competitor data. i wanted it see all of the data. on election day, mitt romney was looking at the data. the data was off. it was a bit, well, you might call it skewed. today we learned how skewed it w was. there is some of romney's final poll numbers. this is a two-day average from six key swing states np in new hampshire, the poll had romney up 3.5 points. obama won the state by 5.6 points. romney poll is off by over 9. ouch. in colorado within romney poll had romney up 2.5 points. obama won by 5.4. romney poll off by almost 8. again, ouch. in iowa, a tie. romney won by almost 6 points. in minnesota, romney poll showed
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romney up by 4. he won by 7.7. in wisconsin, showing obama up by 4. he won by 6.8. in pennsylvania the romney poll showed obama up three points. he won by 5.4. so these are big swings. this isn't a little bit off. so the question becomes, why were the romney numberes so very off? the reporter who got the polling data posed that question to romney polster neil newhouse. he said, quote, i'm not sure what answer is, newhouse said. his future client may want to know that. he said his polls were more accurate than most of the other swing states. though there was a knowledge of the electior yit. he said the colorado latino vote was challenging as it was in florida. the romney campaign also stemmed in part from the voter intensity. their polls asked voters how interested they were in the election on a scale of 1-10.
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voters who scored 8, 9 or 10 romney led in three of the six key states. just turned out those voters accounted for a smaller amount of the eelectorate than an t anticipated. numbers show romney stalling out during hurricane sandy the week of the election then coming back in the final days of the race. he said we thought we had in the last 72 hours of the campaign made up some of the ground from the challenging messaging period during the hurricane. that moment never really materialized, unfortunately, and romney went on to loose. the question is why? nate cohen and alex wagner, thank you guys both for being here. >> thanks, ezra. >> nate, let me begin with you on the poll. what can we learn here? you went through all of the
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polling in the combine. what was your conclusion when you found out far off the romney campaign got it. >> well you have to understand that it is so much worse than public polling. obama is shown 5.2 points worse than he did. the public poll shows obama performing 2 points worse. so they are showing 3.2 points worse than public polls, not paid by the romney campaign to produce the right answers. the second thing, is their explanation doesn't really line up. they didn't show diverse states like florida or virginia. they are showing huge eight-point jer errors in some of the whitest states in the country. where messing up the minority vote doesn't get you there. obama won the white vote. >> it wasn't a huge hispanic vote in new hampshire. >> and in colorado, off by plor than eight points m n a state where latinos are 40% of the electorate. they must have been off by numbers of magnitude to be that
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far off. and that's not plausible. these are one-day sam 78s. no one day polster is reading into one day swings and deciding that is t goes over the top. even if they thought these numbers were true, they were still losing. these numbers add up to 267 electoral votes. they are still down in ohio by 2. were 2 points enough for the difference in the final two days? maybe. but that's not enough to not write a concession speech. >> if your numbers say you are losing and you lose, that should be something that no one saw coming. >> a writing a plain blog about politics and had an interesting point on this web said, what the romney campaign did here was completely rational. every campaign needs to believe they can win. if they don't believe they can win, they are going to lose. so fooling yourself is a totally rational thing to do if you are a campaign. do you buy that reason? there was master plan here at least internally. >> i think that his mentality on some level is i guess excusable in a political campaign.
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but this is a will evowel. this is the same campaign, same party that said these polls are partisan polls and these polls are showing obama up because they want it disenfranchise and discourage romney voters from voting on november 6. an incredible amount of hubris. ann victory add victory bu font on her head. it is parts and parcel of that strategy. time and time again, people would say, romney, you can't run on this. you can't win an election on this. they doubled down np group of people underestimated the american public from the very beginning. the fact that these had these polls that were, a, not very good, but tle would believe them to the bitter end an make no concessions otherwise is not that surprising. >> i would never miss an
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opportunity to wear my victory boufant. >> i know, you wouldn't, ezra. >> one thing we haven't talked that much about is that obama did finish beyond where the public polling would have suggested. he overturned his own -- why is your thinking on why that was? he made romney's numbers a lot more off than he would have been otherwise. >> i think the gap was about two point. i think that a method logical answer is cell phones. some of obama's core voters, young voters and minorities are only accessible by cell phones. it is very expensive to contact them. most media outlets and their polls underestimated cell phones voters. if that's not it, i think the next best explanation is that there were a bunch of latent obama voters that switched after the debates. that kind of resolved on obama after the convention, knew that's where they were going to
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go. had second thoughts, but weren't going to romney and on the final days swung back to his side. >> alex, how much credit do you give to the obama ground here in sn if it did create a two point swing, that is something that can be copied elsewhere. >> i agree with you to a point. one, i give the obama ground game a huge amount of credit. i think sasha eyesenburg best describes that as the victory lap. which is beyond anything that modern political campaigns have seen. and to the degre that fortune 500 companies are asking about consumer data. in terms of replicating it, look, what we are learning about the internet voters outreach community among groups of the american public, it is complicated and ever changing. what we saw was a 2.0 of the dean campaign. i think we will see another version of it in 2016. but this is the line in the sand where you really have an adbc
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thing in terms of date why and reaching out to voters and the romney campaign, i think, it mazing that their digital operation, operation orca. and it was complete failure in se. coming up, obama's plan it save the world. really. it starts out saving $18 billion. and it might actually end up saving the world. at least from drama in washington. i'll explain it coming up. and how deeply embedded is grower think in washington? it is even infecting immigration reform. that is next.
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grover norquist may have lost people on taxes but his thinking invaded immigration reform. seriously, immigration reform. that's next. and how congress can save $18 billion and more? without raising any taxes or
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cutting any spending. they just need to stop doing one thing. one teensy little incredible stupid thing. that is coming up. getting it do. you know how to dance... with a deadline. and you...rent from national. because only national lets you choose any car in the aisle... and go. you can even take a full-size or above, and still pay the mid-size price. this is awesome. [ male announcer ] yes, it is, business pro. yes, it is. go national. go like a pro. a new way to save on your prescriptions. it's the aarp medicarerx saver plus plan from unitedhealthcare. with this plan, you can get copays as low as a dollar through a preferred network pharmacy like walgreens -- where you'll find 8,000 convenient locations. best of all, this plan has the lowest part d premium in the united states -- only $15 a month.
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open enrollment ends december 7th. so call today or visit your local walgreens. ♪ you can stay in and like something... ♪ [ car alarm deactivates ] ♪ ...or you can get out there with your family and actually like something. ♪ the lexus december to remember sales event is on, offering some of our best values of the year. this is the pursuit of perfection. yesterday, a stunning report was released by the pew research center showing that the birthrate dropped to its lowest ever recorded last year to 63.2 births to 1,000 women in child bearing age. to put that into per spespectiv
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during the baby booming years there were a high of 123 births for women. it was according to a 14% drop in the birthrate among foreign-born women which is quote more than it had decline offered the entire 1990-2007 period. i among mexican women it dropped a whopping 23%. the thing for the birthrate is it is bad for the economy. it leads to too many old people and not enough young people. luckily there is a way to solve the problem. and it is not just a higher birthrate. it is an immigration. it can be a difficult fix if no one wants it come to your country or like japan, you are not willing to let anyone into your kcountry. but if you are the united states of america, you are in luck. because everybody wants to come to you. which brings us to today. the house voted and passed a jobs bill. i repeat, because that's important. the house passed a jobs bill today. and it was based on one of mitt
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romney's best ideas in the entire campaign. >> i also think that we should give visas to people, green cards rather, to people who graduate with skills that we need. people around the world with accredited degreeses in science and math. get a green card and come to the u.s. of a. >> don't get too excited. the stem jobs act would give visas to 55,000 immigrant who have advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering or math, stem. the problem with the bill, only 27 democrats supported, is that it would eliminate 55,000 visas from the diversity vees why program. the diversity visa program is a lottery system to provide immigrants from areas with low immigration rates with the clans it come to america. democratic congresswoman of california represents silicon valley. they are the prime beneficiary, arguably, of more high skilled
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immigration. she is not a fan of this bill. she said this give and take approach of pim gracing is like a kwoest grover norquist style pledge. signing with anti-immigrant groups to never create a green card immigrant without taking one away from someone else. it isn't likely to pass in the senate since charles schumer and chris coons added a stem bill without the visa program. the obama administration said it would not support the house bill. but one change can do it. when we know we need more young workers to support a rapidly ageing population, we could let more immigrant in. more immigrants total. it would be good for the economy. good not for nothing, for the immigrants. there is in reason it make immigration, not in america, particularly not when our birthrate is dropping. the fact that people want it come here, that is one of our
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greatest strengths. we should use it. joining me now, victoria difrancesco soto, thank four being here. >> thank you, ezra. >> you wrote, the removal of this class of visas puts on a dangerous slippery slope towards a restrictive and -- could you expand a bit on the hist hist ri there? >> sure, regrettably we have a bit of a dark history in terms of immigration and excludeing people who we deem desirable and undesirable. starting with the chinese exclusion act, j's agreement, excludeing japanese americans and getting into the 1920s, we have the national origin quotas where you start it see an outright exclusion of southern and eastern europeans. so all of these folks not mentally, cognitively and morally fit to be in this country. we say these are folks we want it let in and these are folks we don't want to let in. and we seering that with the
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stem jobs act. it is just eerily reminiscent. and what we know is that there's room. we are on the brink of a population crisis. and not only in terms of the decreased birth rates, but last year, we saw net migration from mexico, the largest sending count country, go down to zero. so we are going down in our birthrate and immigration is stalling. what will happen with this country? we need our population growth and it doesn't look like the republicans are going to want it play ball. if they keep putting forward propositions such as the stem act, we're not going to have any advancement on this issue. we need comprehensive immigration reform. >> there are different reasons we give immigration bills for immigration. in your view, is there a tension between directing immigration towards our economic needs by bringing the stem folks and towards reuniting families and towards assuring global representation. do these things have to be kind of pit against each other? >> absolutely not, ezra.
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we absolutely need high-tech skilled workers but we also need people in the low skill jobs. we need folks who will do the janitorial services. because in the u.s. our educational rates are at such a level where folks are not go tock filling those jobs. so we need folks to fill all sorts of jobs and it should not be mutually exclusive. >> victoria fran chess co-soto, thank you for joining me on this friday night. >> good evening . >> the best idea politics has come up with in a long, long come up with in a long, long time. so we celebrate our year-end with the "share the love" event. get a great deal on a new subaru and 250 dollars goes to your choice of five charities. by the end of this, our fifth year, our total can reach almost 25 million dollars. it's a nice reflection on us all. now through january 2nd.
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at the beginning of tonight's show we went through the white house's opening bid on the debt ceiling. you remember? $1.6 trillion in tax increases. 600 billion in spending cuts. 200 billion in new stimulus. and a very clear message to the
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republicans. if you would like more medicare cuts, then you propose them. go right ahead. but that actually wasn't all that was in their opening bid. there was something else too spp something kind of awesome. there is also a proposal to end debt ceiling crises forever more. the idea comes from a most unlikely source. senate minority leader mitch mcconnell who proposed in july 2011 to permit the president to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling unless congress voted to stop him and unless he proposed accompanying spending cuts. out in spending cuts they didn't have to pass congress, like them or even vote on tlem. he just today propose them. send them on over at the same time. even if congress did vote to stop him from voting the debt det ceiling, a vote of disapproval, the president could vietn veto that. congress with wo have to overturn the veto.
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they want to take this and make it law for all of time. ditch spending cuts part but the rest of it is pretty much the same. the effect would be to finish off the debt ceiling forever. make it no long ear threat to the economy. the president could raise the debt ceiling and congress frankly couldn't do much about it. republicans are laughing this part of his opening bid off as a ridiculous pie in the sky proposal. mcconnell for instance who abandoned it long ago because republicanes it hated it the second he proposed it, he is totally against it now. but it is actually a great idea. one that could do more to protect our economy in the future than anything else in the debt deal. even better, it would cost us nothing. it is perhaps the single best idea in american politics today. the debt ceiling is an aknack ronism, an accountability idea from when congress didn't involve itself much in federal budgeting. today congress has fuel control of the budget. there isn't accountability op a
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run away executive any more. it is calling into question whether congress will pay the bills it has already chosen to incur. like buying a tv then taking a family vote on whether or not you will pay for it when the check comes due. but this is not like grandfather clocks. this is like bleeding someone you suspect to be a witch. the global crisis probably would result. even if we return back to sanity and begin paying our bills again, america's borrowing costs would be forever higher and the market's confidence would be permanently harmed. the bipartisan policy sector estimates the near miss we had in 2011 cost us $18.9 billion. billion with a b. that is 18.9 billion. we lost for no reason. it didn't buy us any government services or lower anybody's taxes by even a dime. it is time to get rid of the debt ceiling. and don't take it from me. take it from the policy makers
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who have had to deal with it before. like alan greenspan, former federal reserve claireman. >> i have more fundamental question. why do we have a debt limit in the first place? we appropriate funds. we have tax law. and one reasonably adept at arithmetic can calculate what the debt change is going to be. the congress and the president have signed legislation predetermining what that number is. why do we need suspenders and belts is something i've never understood. >> now that we got them, the question is -- >> now that you've got them, the question essentially is, there is a major problem in cutting spending. and anything that works in my regard is probably helpful. the difficulty that i have is you cannot have a position which stipulates that i will never
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allow the united states to default. but on the other hand, i will not allow the process to go forward unless there are additional actions with respect to the debt. >> so you can't let it default. >> well, you can, but you shouldn't. >> former treasury secretary robert ruben agrees as do a number of his successors in that position, including larry summers and former treasury secretary paul o'neill. paul o o'neill said p is hard to make a rational argument for the debt ceiling. is it the minority can use it to extract policy concessiones from the majority as republicans did in 2011. in other words within the argument for the debt ceiling with s that we should enter the american economy into a never-ending game of russian roulette. because whichever party a majority of americans did not

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